A break room is a quiet space where families with many types of disability can take a rest when the sensory demands of worship become overwhelming. They allow families a time of respite that allows them to then return to worship. MNA Engaging Disability With The Gospel has some helpful suggestions and guidelines for implementing a successful break room at your church. Click here to read more.
September 6, 2019
Directors have so many responsibilities for their ESL Ministry. But many times, we neglect the most important ones. It seems like your first responsibility should be to the students, but actually it isn’t. Your first responsibility is to your volunteers. Without those volunteers you would not have an ESL Ministry!! I hope that you consider yourself a team rather than a top down organization. And truly your team should become like a family within the larger church family. Here are a few suggestions/ideas:
- Get to know your team. Who is their spouse? What is their job? Is there a current crisis in their lives? It may not seem like it but truly you are a shepherd of sorts. God has given you this group of people to love and serve. Just as your teachers should be regularly praying for their students, you should be praying by name individually for all your volunteers.
- You should communicate with your team regularly. It is always good to have a quick team meeting right before your classes each week in which you pray and share important information about your ESL Ministry. In addition, a weekly e-mail filled with encouragement and maybe a story you heard from one of the teachers is great. Provide a team roster with the names and contact information for volunteers so that they can communicate with each other easier outside of the classroom.
- You should show appreciation to your team. It is your job to be at class a little early and stay a little late. Hopefully by the time your volunteers arrive you have done your portion of the set up and have time to walk around and talk to many of your volunteers as they are setting up their classrooms. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Encourage them. Let them know that you recognize that they are sacrificing their own time to lesson plan and build relationships with students. Send appreciation cards out at least once a year. Take the time to publicly show appreciation for your team at a student event (i.e. Thanksgiving Party).
P.S. A note about appreciation.
None of us should be doing this for the applause of men. We should all be doing it for the Lord. However, the Biblical example is still to appreciate and thank people for the good work that they are doing. Just read through Paul’s letters to see how he overflowed with thankfulness and gratitude for those serving in the churches.
- Have team parties. The volunteers need a time away from your ESL Classes to get to know each other and become a support to each other – not just in ideas of how to teach – but in life in general.
- Include them in decision making. Ask their opinions. Listen to their concerns. They need to know they are an important part of this ministry. They need to have “ownership” of this ministry. If they don’t have a team mindset and a sense of ownership, it is easier for them to miss classes and even quit.
- Model for them the behavior you hope to see. If you hope they will develop relationships with students outside of class, then they need to see you do that first. If you want them to open their home in hospitality to their students, then they need to see you open your home to them first. If you want them to be organized and lesson plan well, then you need to be organized in your part of the ministry.
I realize that all of this can be daunting. After all you are most likely a volunteer too. (I hope the staff of the church is showing you the appreciation that they should!) Just remember you are not doing this alone. The Holy Spirit is right there with you. And if you seek God first, then all of the above things will get done easier and quicker.
To many in your congregation, extra sounds are noise and movement may be distracting. To those with disabilities, the extra noise and movements are means of communication and ways of coping with the environment. But consider this: the extra noise and movements can actually be part of the unique ways they worship. Read more in the latest MNA Engaging Disability newsletter by clicking here.
MNA Disaster Response was selected by RUF Summer Conference to be the mercy ministry outreach focus for 2019. Each week conference participants built, delivered, and set up Sheds of Hope that were given to families that were impacted by Hurricane Michael. Some video highlights:
Click here to hear from some of the participants.
Tim McCracken is the Metanoia Prison Ministries Regional Director, San Joaquin Valley. He is finding hearts open to the gospel in area prisons; they just need volunteers willing to engage the men in regular Bible study. Learn more about how you can support this ministry – read the entire newsletter here.
MNA Online is a monthly e-newsletter with announcements and news from our ministries, as well as notices of upcoming events and updates on PCA church planters. You can read the latest issue here, where you will also find links to subscribe.
Is your church doing disability ministry? If you have even one family member in your church who is touched by disability, the answer is “YES!” Engaging Disability With The Gospel exists to come alongside churches and families touched by disability with encouragement and supports. To help us better connect and enfold families into the 1,875+ PCA churches, we want to know which congregations are engaging in disability ministry now. Please take a moment to register your church. Even if you think we already know about your church, please help us by submitting this form. Anyone can send in the form: officers, staff, church members, volunteers, etc. Receiving multiple forms from a church gives us a clearer picture of all that a church is offering.
Every city and town in the United States is experiencing an influx of people from all around the world.How can we welcome and serve those that God has brought into our community? Through ESL (English as a Second Language) ministries. MNA offers a 12 hour training to get you started. You can either request a training at your church or check to see if there is one scheduled near you. Click here to learn more about MNA ESL Training.
This video interview with MNA Refugee and Immigrant Ministry Director Pat Hatch was featured in ByFaith. You can read the article here.
Know someone who’s moving? Be sure to suggest they check out this list of new church plants around North America as they look for a new church home.
Want to start an ESL School as a ministry at your church but don’t know how to get started? MNA ESL Director Nancy Booher walks you through the basic steps and provides helpful tools, such as a promotional flier, starter kit, and budgeting advice. Click here to read more.